Aodh Ruadh damned Downings to an emphatic defeat in Ballyshannon on Sunday to clinch a place in the quarter-finals.
Aodh Ruadh 3-21 Downings 0-7
Recent meetings between the two stood Downings in good stead, but it wasn’t to be on the day, and in truth, Aodh Ruadh were in complete control for large parts.
Philip Patton got the scoring underway early with a tidy free-kick and by the interval, Patton had put together six impressive points, four of them from frees.
Shane McGrath, who secured 2-04, was also hugely influential on the day for the Ernesiders.
Eric Roberts and Caolan McGruddy got Downings their only points of the first half from open play and a free-kick, but Aodh Ruadh had a 1-12 to 0-3 at half-time.
In the second half, Aodh Ruadh’s Shane McGrath scored a brace of goals to extend the lead for the south Donegal outfit, their third goal of the day.
But a solid foundation in the midfield for Aodh Ruadh through Eamon McGrath and Cian Dolan, who were exceptional on the day, sent them well not their way to an impressive victory
Eric Roberts scored two fine points before the end for Downings, as did James Lee McBride and Oisin Boyce, who got a point apiece as the visitors showed plenty of heart.
Aodh Ruadh: Peter Boyle; Caolan O’Halloran, Colm Kelly, Johnny Gallagher; Shane Gillespie, Conor Patton, Sean Taylor 0-1; Cian Dolan 0-1, Eamon McGrath; Nathan Boyle 0-2, Philip Patton 0-9, 4 fs, Diarmuid McInerney 0-1; Johnny Gethins 1-1, Niall Murray 0-1, Shane McGrath 2-4.
Subs: Paddy Gillespie 0-1 for Taylor (½ time); Michael Ward for J Gallagher (h/t); Ryan McKenna for E McGrath (38); E McGrath for Dolan (59).
Downings: John McGruddy; Anthony Boyce, Ben McNutt, Ross Cullen 0-1; Patrick McGinty, Oisin Boyce, Chris Carr; James Lee McBride 0-1, f, Shane Boyce; Mark McBride, Caolan McGruddy 0-2, fs, Gerard McGee; Eoin Byrne, Shane McClafferty 0-1, Eric Roberts 0-2.
Referee: Mark Brown (Four Masters).